Naming Basics for Brands, Products, and Services | Nick Armstrong | Skillshare

Playback Speed


  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Naming Basics for Brands, Products, and Services

teacher avatar Nick Armstrong, I make marketing FUN.

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Welcome!

      1:33
    • 2. Exercise: The 5 Minute Brainstorm

      6:06
    • 3. Emotional Resonance

      1:37
    • 4. Exercise: Who Is It For?

      0:36
    • 5. Case Study: WTF Marketing

      2:46
    • 6. Exercise: The Dum Dum Sucker Test

      2:31
    • 7. Case Study: Level-Up Financial Planning

      8:05
    • 8. Don't Buy That Domain Name Yet

      2:26
    • 9. It's Not For You: Owning Your Name

      3:29
    • 10. Case Study: That Damn Lawyer

      7:40
    • 11. Bonus: Brand Funerals & Course Corrections

      1:55
    • 12. Review + Wrapping Up

      1:17
    • 13. Class Project

      1:47
    • 14. Case Study: Fort Collins Video

      6:01
    • 15. Bonus Questions: Hard Acronyms, Board-Picked Names

      2:01
  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.

1,679

Students

--

Project

About This Class

7ab45a83

80% of small businesses use Facebook to market their products and services.

How do you stand out in a sea of similarity when you literally have thousands of competitors a click away? Your brand name can behave as a memorable hook in your customer’s minds - it tells a story, paints a picture, and conveys values. Your product names can create a lasting impression to position yourself apart from your competition.

Don’t wanna be stuck all day brainstorming new names for your brand, products, or services? Are you tired of buying clever domains only to see them go unused?

Great. I’ll teach you how to name your brand, products, and services and do it well with just 10 minutes. No domain purchases allowed.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Step 1: The 5-minute Brainstorm - generate names for your brand and products
    • What’s the problem being solved?
    • What’s the solution?
    • What’s the emotion your customers are feeling?
    • What’s your customer's aspirational identity? (What's their dream outcome?)
    • What’s the community you're serving?
  • Step 2: Emotional Resonance and Memorable Names
    • Who is it for?
  • Step 3: The 5-minute Dum Dum Sucker test
    • Identify naming conflicts and problems EARLY with crowdsourced name stress-testing
  • Step 4: Don’t buy that domain just yet
    • Vetting Availability
    • Check trademarks, copyrights, and Google first
  • Step 5: It's Not For You: Owning the Name
    • Go all in or go home
  • Bonus: Changing Direction
    • Shifts in meaning
    • Changing direction and changing names
  • Case Studies: WTF Marketing, That Damn Lawyer, Level Up Financial Planning, Fort Collins Video, and more coming soon...

Who is this guy and how does he know about business?
I’m Nick Armstrong: the Geek-in-Chief behind WTF Marketing, dad, author, Ignite, PechaKucha, Startup Week, and TEDx speaker, audio drama enthusiast, and award-winning entrepreneur. Through WTF Marketing and partner organizations, I’ve served a wide array of happy clients ranging from mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 100’s. I’ve co-organized community events like Fort Collins Comic Con, Startup Week Fort Collins, TEDxFoCo, Ignite Fort Collins, LaidOffCamp/CareerCamp, PodCamp Fort Collins, and more. My local efforts landed me a prestigious spot as one of BizWest’s 40 Under Forty in 2016 and the Colorado Association of Libraries’ Library Community Partnership Award in 2018.

If you're launching something new, my classes can help you:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nick Armstrong

I make marketing FUN.

Teacher

I'm Nick Armstrong and I make small business FUN.

I'm the Geek-in-Chief behind WTF Marketing, Fort Collins Startup Week, and Fort Collins Comic Con. I'm a dad, author, speaker at Ignite, PechaKucha, and TEDx, audio drama enthusiast, and award-winning serial entrepreneur.

More than anything, I love to make people laugh, especially while I'm teaching.

I want YOU to learn how to have fun in every aspect of your business and my classes are built specifically around fun, actionable projects.

Ready to make your business fun? Check out my courses below...

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
    0%
  • Yes
    0%
  • Somewhat
    0%
  • Not really
    0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.

Transcripts

1. Welcome!: One of the first things that most entrepreneurs do when they start their business is pick out a name, but how do you decide on a name? How do you decide on a good name, something that's impactful and generates the right emotions and ideas from your customers? How do you decide on something that's going to stick with your business for the next five, 10, 15 years? How do you decide on a name for a product or a service or a package? How do you decide on something that is that important that when you're customers call you, they're going to say, "I want that. " 80% of businesses use Facebook to market their business and products and services. How do you stand out in that huge sea of sameness when your copywriting sounds the exact same as somebody else's copywriting. Entrepreneurs can't afford to be stuck thinking up names all day long. They have to be able to create products and services and businesses move quickly through the naming process, and the branding process, and get to something good. That's what I'm going to teach you in this course. Over the course of a 10-minute window, how to jot down as many ideas as you can, to vet those ideas, test them out, and how to pick one that sticks, so that you can pick out a name really quickly that matches your brand, matches the product or service and also gets you out the door and helping people as quickly as possible, rather than sitting around brainstorming at a white board all day. Let's get started. 2. Exercise: The 5 Minute Brainstorm: Now I'm going to teach you to take that experience which you have gained, and take five minutes to turn that into an actionable name for your product, your service, or your business. What is the problem? What is the solution? What are the emotional states of your customers going through these things? What does their aspirational identity look like? What does the community look like? If you can nail down those five things, each taking about a minute or so, you will have the core constructs of your name. What is the problem that your business seeks to solve? I don't mean what is it that you do. It's hard to have WTF marketing without the marketing part of it, but that's just what I do. That's not the problem that I solve. The problem that WTF marketing solves is, that most small business owners get overwhelmed, bored, angry, or frustrated with their marketing, and so I step in to help them with that. What opportunities do you see in your market that from the reverse side look like your customers biggest problem? What is the solution? If I am noticing that there's a hole in my market, that there is a problem that's being created either by other service providers, or just a general gap in the service providers in my niche. What can I do about that? What is the solution that I bring to the table? In my case, that's unabashed honesty. It's also about humor. It's about subtlety. But what about you? What's your unique solution to the problem? What can you bring to the table that's unique from your competitors? That should be incorporated into your name as well. Next is the emotion. What is the emotion that your customers are dealing with? Is it frustration? Is it fear of missing out? Is it loss? Is it pride? Is it something that's really welling up in them? It has to be visceral. When I say visceral, I mean that you can feel it in your gut. This is a, it's a core emotion. It's something that they have a strong desire for or a strong aversion to. There's something that they're feeling intrinsically as part of their being. Like, this isn't right, or this is how I want to be. Or people like me do things like this, or people like us, as a larger community act like this, and behave like this, and these people can help me do it, or this product or this service can help me get to that next spot. That next spot, is called an aspirational identity. It's not who you are right now, it's who you are hoping to become. It's why you go to the gym, so you can get healthier, get stronger, get buffered, or whatever it is that you want to do. When you go to the gym, you are focusing on your aspirational identity. It's aversion to loss. You don't want to lose the ability to go and bend and touch your toes. You don't want to lose the ability to wear a t-shirt without your tummy sticking out. That's why you go to the gym. There are different gyms that market in different ways, towards different emotions, and it's sometimes in the name, and it's sometimes in their marketing. But when it's conveyed in the name, when you say, oh, I'm going to dot. I have a certain image in my mind of the emotion that it conveys, "Oh, that's not for me." That's perfectly fine, because you want to bounce the people who do not care or do not connect with your particular type of solution, first, you want to get rid of them. Along with an aspirational identity, what's the dream? What are people telling themselves about if they got this particular problem or gap or area in their lives that they want fixed or improved. What happens as a result and what is that emotion? You actually have two different sets of emotions. You have, what is the emotion that they're feeling now as a result of this absence of you and your product, or service in their lives? What is the emotion that they hope to achieve once they have their aspirational identity met? That difference between A to B is your value proposition, and it's also the core, the crux of what you're doing, how you're solving it. That's where you could start to really identify a name. If you can really clearly espouse a value, that value in difference of where are they at now to where do they want to be, and what is the difference in those two emotional states, that's where your name is really powerful. That's where your name can lie, and that's where your name is usually found. The next thing to consider is, what is your community? Is your community more conservative, more liberal, or is your market more worldwide? Is it more confined to your city or even your local organization? Is your product or service for a particular niche, and can it be attached to that niche? Is that something that you hope gets picked up by early adopters and continues on down the line? Or is it a pattern match that you're hoping that something out there already is doing something similar and that people will switch because yours is slightly better or yours is slightly different? Or it's for a more particular group of people. You are more nailed down in that marketing and you can speak better to that particular group of people. In doing so, you may have identified the core constructs of your name. Let's recap. What is the problem? What is the solution? What are the emotional states of your customers going through these things? What does their aspirational identity look like? What does the community look like? If you can nail down those five things, each taking about a minute or so, you will have the core constructs of your name. 3. Emotional Resonance: We touched on this a little bit in the last video, but I really want to re-emphasize the importance of emotion. The emotional difference between where a customer is at and where they want to be is a hugely important factor in any successful marketing campaign. You can create change. In order to create that change, you have to create tension. They might be okay with just sitting here where they're at. There's plenty of things that we put up with. If you can create enough tension to make changing this more important than keeping the resource that they have, that's marketing, that's the ball game. You've created enough tension that they want to make a shift and that they're hiring you or retaining your product or retaining your service so that you can help them. That's the core difference with products that have an emotional resonance versus products that are just commodities. You'd go to a CSA because you're supporting your local farmer and that makes all the difference in spending an extra one to five to $10 per transaction versus I'm going to go to my local grocery store and go pick up the dollar beans off the shelf. I'm broke but I need something that's super healthy, so I'd better go and get the healthiest white label beans that they have on the shelf. Those types of decisions that you have in your head have nothing to do at all with rational decision-making. There's no logic to it. It's all about emotion. 4. Exercise: Who Is It For?: I want you to think about your customers. Who is this product or service or business idea for? Then I want you to think about, what is the emotion that they're dealing with? What is their aspiration identity? Who do they hope to be when they've used your product or service or business? You can start writing down three to five. Work on that right now, and then move on to the next video. 5. Case Study: WTF Marketing: I'd love to tell you that I just jotted down the idea for WTF Marketing and thought it was hilarious. That's only partially true because what actually happened was months and months of seeing social media gurus back in the day before, Facebook business pages were a thing, trying to book small business owners out of their hard-earned cash, selling marketing promises that would never come to pass, trying to turn Twitter into this massive profit generator for their businesses without any real strategy or plan, no business tools, no analytics, no vetting of efficacy. It was frustrating and it was a frustrating time as a digital marketer. At the same time, I knew that I couldn't just outright, "That person's a charlatan and that person's a snake over salesman." What I had to do was flip it. I adopted a policy of unabashed honesty. Frustration in the state of affairs of marketing and also this idea of unabashed honesty, I'm going to tell you the truth whether or not it earns me the contract or if I get paid or if you're going to fire me, at least I've told the truth because, why wouldn't you? Those two ideas coming together and forming that value proposition for the client is a really powerful thing and that's the power behind the brand of WTF Marketing. It's not the shock in our value, although it is memorable and it has some cool characteristics that work forward in that way. WTF is certainly memorable because it's humor. There's humor in it, but for some people, it's got a negative connotation. How do I like my clients? I like them, able to laugh, able to take a joke. The types of people that go, "WTF men," that's who I want to work with. Do I want to work with the uptight stodgy suits? No, I do not. I have no compunction whatsoever to work with those types of people. They can't take a joke, they have no sense of humor. I just don't want to have any part of that business. It also acts as a filter for me. Remember that there are different memory pathways. Humor, outrage is another type of thing that you can create, but it's more about the idea of honest intent and those emotions that get conveyed for the customer, match up to that frustration. WTF, why is this so hard? It's just marketing. Man, I wish somebody would tell me what to do and honestly just own up to it. If there's no reason for me to be doing something online, why am I paying somebody to do it? Those two ideas, combined are really powerful and that's the power of WTF marketing. 6. Exercise: The Dum Dum Sucker Test: If you're anything like me, you have about a stack of 100 domain names that you've purchased and are just sitting there collecting dust and waiting for you to use them. Don't do this. What I encourage you to do instead, is vet a name through the dum dum sucker test. It takes five minutes and it will tell you instantly if people will connect well with your brand name. The dum dum sucker test is this, picture for me, if you will, reaching your hand into a bag of dum dum suckers, sight unseen, tearing off the rapper and sticking it in your mouth. Now do you know what flavor that is? Or did you maybe get one of the mystery flavors? If you've got one of the mystery flavors, that's not an emotionally relevant sucker, is it? The same is true for your domain name or your brand name, your product name, your service. If you can't tell what it is. If the customer can't tell what it is, it's no good to you. I went through plenty of variation of WTF marketing before I got to the correct variation, which is what you see today. If I had stuck with one of those other ones that I may be liked better, and I knew what the flavor was, but the customers didn't know what the flavor was. That's a confusing name. The dum, dum sucker test is simply this. If you write down on a sheet of paper what your five favorite name choices are, and then show it to your mentors or show it to your fellow business owners, you or your peer group, your meetup group, your friends, your family, and they tie some sort of emotional relevance to one of the particular names that you have in mind, that is passing the dum, dum soccer test, pulled the Socratic bag, you know its root beer, cool. We know exactly what that is. We know how that works. We know what it's supposed to taste like, we know what it does. Same thing is true for your name. If it doesn't pass the dum dum soccer tests, you're going to have confusion. You're going to have some extra expense in terms of education or creating awareness for your brand. But that slope is going to be so much harder than if you had picked a name that was very clear from the outset what it is, what it does, and how it's supposed to make you feel. Your task right now is to go undertake the dum dum sucker test with 10 of your closest friends and report back the results in the forum. 7. Case Study: Level-Up Financial Planning: So I'm here with Lucas, who's with Level Up Financial Planning. He's the owner of Level Up Financial Planning. Tell us about your business, Lucas. Sure, Level Up Financial Planning is different than what you would think of any type of financial advisory that you probably have heard of or worked with in the past. The reason for that is because previous financial institutions, and financial advisors really cared about how much you had in investments where I could care less. A lot of my clients now have a negative net worth, and are only just now starting their investment, education, and wealth building process, and that was really important for me to create my company into where I can help people get from that ground level to where some of the clients that I was working with in the past at my previous firm where we had $500 thousand asset minimum. So yeah, drastically different. I'm helping more on that foundational, educational, and a lot of couples like integrating finances, and having those discussions, and talking about how this works, how that works. So it's been a lot of fun. My tagline, which I'm sure we'll get to some of those things, but as I say, I want to help my clients take their financial competence to the next level, and that has to come through education. It's not me telling them what to do, and then they just do it like robots. That's not impactful for them, and it's not impactful for me. So I want to really educate, and help them grow that confidence. Yeah. So tell me about the name Level Up Financial Planning. It used to be really big into video games, comics. I know you know that a little bit more than I probably even tell my clients too, but talking about personal finance is not fun for a lot of people. It's really scary, and so I wanted to lighten the mood with Level Up Financial Planning. Very rarely would you see any other financial institution or a financial planning company use these more type of fun words. They're like Oak Financial because they want to show you like a big, sturdy tree and stuff like that or like a sailboat. As much as I enjoy a lot of people in the industry, I'm just not like them, and so I wanted something that reflected me, but I didn't want it to be like, oh, Coursera's Financial Planning because I'm not that important. I'm just trying to help you do what's important to you. I don't really want the focus to be on me. Have you seen that play out through your name, and have those target markets naturally been drawn towards you, or have you had to work a little bit towards getting those target markets In particular? You hear financial advisor, financial planner, you're like those guys are going to sell me something crazy or do something shady. So I think more than anything, the toughest part is just educating people that this is a service now that you can pick, and choose whether I'm going to add value, and if I'm not. Then there's a few other advisors that are doing the same thing I'm doing now, but it's a very small fraction. Less than a half of a percent of all financial advisors would really care enough to talk with someone, and actually give them that education, coaching, guidance, and all the planning that I do. So the biggest thing is just awareness and saying, "Hey, this is what I do. I'm here if you do ever need it or if someone you know, ever needs it." So that's been the biggest thing by far than I have noticed that the people that do want to work with me are going to be goal-oriented, and action-oriented. It just makes it for a fun kind of relationship, because they're saying, "Hey, this is where we want to go. We're willing to do whatever it takes. We just don't know what's the best next step." So that's really rewarding for me to be like, oh well, this is how we should approach it, and then all of a sudden I see them start to do it, and then they get that confidence. Have you seen a reaction to your name in particular, from your audience? Do they respond better to it than say the elephant in the room? I don't know, particularly and maybe that's something I should ask them. I think that's one of the reasons why I thought I'd be a good case study, because I think I had a good foundation of what I wanted it to do. But then I don't know how to measure the effectiveness, and at the same time too there's a lot of crazy things I've wanted to do, and you would've loved it. My wife on the other hand, who I needed to have buy-in from, to to be able to launch my own business, and do this thing, she's like,"I don't think the world's ready for you yet, and all of your crazy ideas." So there's a lot of stuff that I've just tailed back in, and I'll sprinkle some stuff in, and throw it out there a little bit to see. There are some things where I do notice, but at the same time I don't want to alienate people either. I recently read a book that came out called The Creative Curve. It just talked about the timing, and how much different things can be in order for them to truly take hold. You can't come out of completely right field, and have people adopt it in a way where it's going to be sustainable. Well one of the edge cases that you have mentioned, and have done before would be your presentation for Fort Collins Comic Con. One of my favorite blog post is how to be a baller on a budget, and it was just so fun writing it. Then Comic-Con was rolling around, and I always want to give that financial education piece, and try to make it more fun, and more engaging. So I came up with how to build your superhero portfolio, and then relating that to The Avengers. The Avengers are pretty popular. Most people know them now even if they weren't into comics in the past, and really The Avengers are a bunch of misfit type people that are put together because they have special powers, but they all have their weaknesses, and things like that. So there's a lot of similarities of why you want to have diversification in your portfolio. And there's other things that you have to battle that you can't do on your own. I can't put something in a savings account, and expect that to hold up to inflation, and be enough when I retire, and have no other additional income coming in. So I tried to relate the inflation being like a villain. Getting old being a villain because that's a huge issue. The biggest for people when they retire is running out of money. That's higher than death. So I just wanted to integrate some fun stuff that they know, and try to make that connection a little bit easier for them by tying something they know to something that I enjoy, and obviously people at Comic-Con would appreciate that connection as well. So is there anything else that you would say to a newbie entrepreneur or solopreneur who is starting up their business, and hasn't named yet? There should be a lot of time before you launch your business where you're just doing a lot of brainstorming anyways. So asking professionals that you know, and respect their input, and family members, your target audience. I did connect with a couple of people. I focus a lot on the engineer people in tech community because I'm familiar with their stock options, and the unique volatility that sometimes occurs in that industry, in that space. So I actually reached out to a dozen or so, and sent out like a mail trip to them, and gave them a Starbucks gift card. So I do a lot of things semi right in doing that, but I think the more time you take deciding, the better. Eventually at some point you do have to pull the trigger because you do want to open, and actually start doing the hard work of getting clients. 8. Don't Buy That Domain Name Yet: Assuming your name has passed muster with this Dum Dum sucker test, let's also talk about vetting availability. It's really important, especially with trademarks and copyrights, to get something that is original and sticks well. So you want to go out there and find a name that is ideally not in use by anybody else, or as a variation of a term, or a play on a phrase, or a phrase of words that come together in a way that is unique and new, and also has an emotional resonance to it. Now, not every combination of everything ever has always been chosen or has been used before, or even in a format that you couldn't possibly use again or recycle from somebody if they don't have a trademark to it. But you do want to be careful of naming conflicts or demographics and geographies. If you use a phrase in a certain way, and that phrase means something else in a different city, a different state, a different country, you might run into some naming conflicts. Once you have your names narrowed down, you want to Google them relentlessly to see if, does this exist somewhere else? Is this a name that's already in use? Is it somewhere in play? Is there something that's used about it or is it just geographically tied to a location? The more unique and independent you can get, the further away from any sort of trouble you will be. But if you have a name that's relatively common, or a play on words that people come to associate with whatever, you'll have to be more careful. You can also use the US Patent and Trademark Office Search to see if a name already exists somewhere in the country. You can also do the same thing with your local business registry through the Secretary of State. So don't buy the domain name until you have verified that you actually have access to a clear pathway through Google, a clear pathway through the trademark, and also a clear cultural understanding of how that name is used and what it's for. WTF, I know skirts the edges of this. Like I said, the rules are made to be broken. But you really want to make sure that it's not going to blatantly offend people. Don't go into a place and expect to overnight flip a term that is demeaning, derogatory, offensive. It's not going to work. So your assignment right now is to go vet your name. 9. It's Not For You: Owning Your Name: When I first started, I didn't have a clear grasp on the dynamics of what WTF Marketing would mean to people. I actually got bounced from a client that I really wanted to work with because they got somehow through all of my contract all the way to the end to the signature line where it has my contact information. Now, keep in mind, they've been corresponding with me throughout, so I have no idea how they did this. But they got to the end they said," Is that your business name?" I said, "Yeah, WTF Marketing." This potential client that I lost, leans over and he says, "This is offensive, I can't. I don't know, I can't sign this." I said, "You don't have to worry about that. Nobody will ever know besides your accountant that you worked with WTF Marketing if you ask us not to say anything about it." He said, "No, I really I can't do business with you." I said, "Okay, that's fine." So I wrote him a note for a couple of my competitors and I said, "Here you go and good luck." It turns out three years later, he finally got the new website that he was after. It took him that long to get that level of competence, but I understand where he's coming from. When you own your brand, this is for people like who have this particular set of interests and skills and whatever else, it's not for you and you have to be okay with identifying folks where it's like, "That's not for you." I don't want to work with people that are offended by WTF. I don't want to work with people that don't have a sense of humor about internet acronyms. I just can't work with them because they're not going to understand my services, they're not going to understand some aspect of my humor, they're not going to understand something. My contract is written in plain English, I make references to putting plastic, horse heads and people's beds if they don't pay up. I have a lot of humor written into my contracts, into my process documents, and into my systems and into everything that I do. If they are not going to laugh, if they don't get the joke, is just so not worth working with them. So the same thing is true about when you have a name, own it, it has to be part of you, you have to really dig in. For WTF Marketing, this is easy because it's emotionally resonant. If you have a brand and a name that means something and it resonates, own it, own it end to end. Make it part of your processes, make it part of your delivery, show up and market in that way that matches your brand and matches your name because if you don't, it's disingenuous. If I showed up and he was like, "Yes, it's WTF Marketing." because that's funny in, that is so off brand and it diminishes the quality of my name. Not just my name, but my brand name which stands for unabashed honesty. If I show up and I start lying to people, I don't know, it's I'm not a good liar. So people would show up and they'd be like, "What is Nick doing? It's weird." Now, if I do that, nobody's going to buy into it. But if I sit down and I tell him the story about, I was so frustrated by marketing gurus taking money out of the businesses that I care about in my community and bilking small business owners and I was so frustrated by that, I looked around and I said, "WTF, why isn't anybody being honest with these people?" Boom, that's emotionally resonant and people know I'm going to be honest with them. So I have to live it, I have to know it end to end. Right now, write down five ways that you can live that brand end to end and own that name. 10. Case Study: That Damn Lawyer: I'm here with Brian Hanning, also known as That Damn Lawyer Brian, why don't you tell us about your firm. I am a lawyer located in northern Colorado. What I do is I help small businesses with their legal needs from inception, and I deal all the way through to wherever they want to go. My law firms name is technically Hanning Law, but that's kind of boring. I got the URL, thatdamnlawyer.com because what I'm doing with my business is working with referred individuals who are looking to build something and aren't looking in necessarily traditional way. What's the response been to That Damn Lawyer? It's been overwhelmingly positive. I was talking to a potential client earlier this week and they had been given a list of three or so companies to do their legal work and they decided to reach out to me specifically because of the website. Mostly what happens is I'll hand my card to somebody. They'll go, ''Oh, that's your website?" and just really enjoy that. Some of the more litigation and in front of court attorneys have had a less positive reaction to it, and I completely understand why. When you're filing with the court, you are giving a document with your name and your e-mail and saying, "Here judge, take me seriously." Having a frivolous fun for a name like this could lessen the impact of a motion. So there's positives and negatives? How do you work with that in your business? What is your business like in terms of the clients that you like to serve? It's interesting because most of the clients don't care. I mean, if they care they either didn't get in contact with me or they went, "This is fantastic. I like that you have a sense of humor. I like that I can talk to you" those kinds of things. But for the most part, people go, "It's a website. Can you do what you say you can do?" which is an important part. Getting into the philosophy of your business really, who do you like to serve and what's your philosophy behind the law? I work with these clients to help them build something and really do something with it. Either build it for their kids, just live on it something. I personally really thrive with that energy because it allows me to focus on the creative aspect of the law which is in the drafting of something to help them. We need a contract for blockchain. Great, let's do that. Let's find the way to do it. The brand has helped with that because they don't want somebody who looks at the law and says, "Great, let's go sue somebody." They're looking for something slightly different. Yeah. You're an intellectual property attorney first and foremost it seems like. Like you mentioned earlier, a lot of lawyers are really hard to talk to, you not so much, we like talking to you. The communication is such a big part of it, and it seems with the '08 recession and the recognition that technology is actually helpful, a lot of lawyers moved to the automation side of it. A lot of their client intake is now forms. A lot of their client interaction is go down our list of potential things that could be until we get to the answer and then we're going to charge you. Most attorneys do a retainer an hourly. So if you decide you want to go sue the government for some unknown reason, they're going to ask for five, 10, $25,000 up front, and then you're going to get periodic invoices that say, "Great, we did discovery and filed the complaint and all of this. We ended up using $30,000 so we need $30,000 to go back into the account," and it can get expensive and it can be difficult to understand why. What I do is I tell people how much they're going to get charged. A lot of people have that roadblock of talking to a lawyer because they don't know what it's going to cost them. It's going to cost them an arm and a leg, and that's the idea that they go in with. Do you find that adding a little bit of humor into your domain name through your email address and your business cards. Does that reduce that roadblock a little bit? If someone is at all receptive to the idea of the attorney with the non-traditional e-mail and by nontraditional for lawyers I'm saying not three letters lawfirm.org com whatever. By giving the signal that I am slightly different, I get clients responding to that. There are some clients who really want the humor. There are some clients irrespective of my name that want the personality behind the humor and they're going, "This is a serious thing. We need serious face time," because they came to me knowing that they weren't going to get an hourly rate, and they weren't getting someone behind the desk, etc. Do you have any other words of advice for small business owners who are thinking about naming a brand or their product or their service and just haven't gotten started yet? Talk with both your person who's helping you come up with the name, as well as the person who's helping you to come up with your logo at the same time and marrying those. As the same time I was talking with you about my website, I was talking with a local graphic designer and my comment was the same," I don't know what I'm doing, I'm a lawyer. Help me come up with something that's approachable and still professional." Both of you came up and went, "Great hears something," and together it's given a very holistic idea of who I am in any piece of collateral. Because it's a very specific image that evokes non-straight lines and all of this along with the potential for humor and personal interactions. 11. Bonus: Brand Funerals & Course Corrections: When something has outlived its purpose, you can let it go. But for a lot of things, a brand name stands for something. There's a lot of impact behind it. There's a crowd behind it or people that believe in it. It's harder to give that up, but it can shift. When it's time to shift or pivot, you have to go through the same process again. You also have to consider the weight of the previous brand when you shift. What is the baggage that we're carrying with us from this old brand name to this new brand name. If you don't consider that and if you don't make it an integral part of the process, you're just like, "I'm going to switch names." Then it looks like you're trying to pull a fast one on your customers. Don't just switch a brand name without giving it careful consideration. In fact, I would even hold like a funeral for a year old brand, if you could, because people that have loved you and lived with your brand and identified with it in that emotionally resonant way may not carry over. There's going to be a sense of loss and a sense of grieving. Let us just look at Toys-R-Us right now. Look at the memes around Toys-R-Us. When that brand went away, that emotional resonance when you're switching names from A to B, you have to consider it, you have to be delicate, you have to consider the emotional weight that you're bringing with you from old to new. When at all possible, grieve when you can for the old brand and hold a proper respect for it. People identify with it. Emotions are things that aren't to be toyed with. If you have the ability to hold a funeral for your old brand, do it because it will only build that much more trust in your new brand. 12. Review + Wrapping Up: My first word of advice to you is, stop buying so many damn domain names, you don't meet them. My second thing that I will tell you is, always consider your checklist, your five minute brainstorm. What is the problem you're trying to solve? What is the solution that you are bringing to the table? What is the emotional resonance from where they want to be to where they want to go? What is that future identity, their aspirational identity look like for the customer? Finally, what is the community for this product? Who is it for? What do they believe in? What do they think? How do they act? How did they behave? Who are the people like us? Whenever you come up with a name, come up with a couple of different names, three to five alternatives, and run the dum dum sucker test to see if people that you want to buy your product or services or people that are going to refer you, can identify the flavor that you're offering them? Can identify what it is, what does it do, what is it supposed to taste like, what it's supposed to feel like? Finally, always be aware of emotional resonance and own that name. I wish you the best of luck and if you have any questions, comments, or needs, make sure to let me know in the comments section. 13. Class Project: For your exercise, I want you to consider somebody in your community, a business, service provider, a non-profit organization that could use a little bit of help on their next campaign or maybe with launching a product or launching a service that will help them with their next fundraiser, or we'll help them with some aspect of their survival. I want you to brainstorm on this idea and then I want you to pick five names and run through the process of figuring out if it's emotionally relevant, figuring out who it's serving, who it's for, what the aspiration identity is and all of that and then I want you to run it through the dum dum sucker test and run it through with your friends and then I want you to take that naming idea and the proposal and give it to the non-profit of your choice, whoever it is that you were deciding to help and see what they think about it and walk them through the process of how you got to the name, how you created the idea, and what do you think that the emotional relevancy is. I guarantee you it will get their wheel spinning in the right direction and help ensure their survival moving forward. That's what I would like you to do and if you want to post your process as you're thinking through the naming ideas and the ideas of what you are hoping to accomplish for this non-profit or this organization, post it in the comments and I will give you feedback as you go, and if you want to do this for your own business, no worries, keep doing it, post it in the comments, I would love to see it. Thanks very much. Make sure you leave me some feedback and review the class at the end. 14. Case Study: Fort Collins Video: Now let's talk with Larry from Fort Collins Video. Hello, thanks for giving me an opportunity to help you out here, Nick. Yeah I'm Larry Chapman, sole proprietor, Fort Collins Video, LLC, and started the business in 2005, mostly to make what was a hobby into a career. Obviously, when you start a company, you got to find a name. I started out with just domain searches and then also search the State of Colorado database for small business names and stuff. I was honestly very surprised that no one had used Fort Collins Video as a business name ever before. I had some business advisors including my father, who was a small business owner most of his life. We were talking about names and my brother too is also small business guy. We were all talking about it and I said, "I think I'm going to name it Fort Collins Video." They looked at me and actually laughed that, "No. You need something." They were talking names like video to go, video for you. We do all those kinds of honestly more creative names. But neither of them understood the internet and Google Search and how powerful it already was, let alone how powerful it is now. I said, "I'm just going to pick Fort Collins Video. I think number one, it gives me credibility because just like me, there's going to be people who see that name and assume it's been around for a long time, which 12 years ago it hadn't been around at all." Then I said, "Also It gives me instant SEO. If someone types in Fort Collins Video just doing a search, boom, there I am." Of course I was always very careful to have good text in my website. It said Fort Collins Video, video production, videographer, all that stuff. Throughout the years, and I keep pretty good track, I have received about half my business from organic search that finds me. I got a call about eight years ago from a guy at Agilent and he said," Hey Larry, this is Mark and we rely on your video guy, we've had for a long time, we lost because he doesn't want to upgrade to HD. He's going to just take this time to retire as we inked our first deal." I said, "Mark, so who referred you to me," and there was this pause and he said, "Google." So it wasn't even a referral. He hadn't even asked all these people that knew me. He had just gone to Google and typed in the search terms and found me. Of course he looked at my LinkedIn profile, which did show my backgrounds, so that helped. But again, people don't do a whole lot of shopping. Very often it comes down to the first acceptable vendor. They get on the phone, they talk to you, you talk price, if the price works and they like what they hear 80 percent of the time it's an inked deal. They don't go any further. They don't look for someone who's better and less expensive. Maybe they should but they don't. They're in such hurry when they find someone acceptable, it's like, "Okay, let's do it." Larry do you find that the more traditional nature of your name draws that crowd to you and it does it help build trust? I can say I think so. I think some of it. My age actually I believe works for me and against me. I think for some people they see someone who has been in business 12 or 15 years, who is older, and there's trust there. As I said in the beginning, I think especially when I first started that people see the name Fort Collins Video and just assume you've been around forever. The other domain name that I also purchased at the same time is Northern Colorado video, which was also unused and it just forwards to Fort Collins Video at this point. The one thing I didn't do, which is a small side note, is that the domain on my e-mail address is not Fort Collins video just because I didn't want people to have to type that many characters. Actually my main domain technically is ftcvideo.com, which is just easier to type. I think it's a case of keep it simple. We're on opposite ends of the traditional naming spectrum. Mine's more extreme, yours is a little bit more traditional. What do you think that that has an effect, if any, on your customers? You made a decision I believe to select clients based on the name of your company. There are people that are going to look at that name and go, "No, I want nothing to do with the company named that." I know you well enough to know you're going to go, "Okay." If that's all it takes to you not to select me, then we probably weren't going to be good business partners anyway. On my website, which modern people laugh at because it is ancient design and the action item from that website is to pick up the phone and call me. The other thing I don't want is someone who's going to select me based on never talking to me. I can't tell you how much business I've won because I'm the first person to get back to. Everyone they seems to be a lot less planning and people are always in a hurry. We've got this big video. It has to be done in 30 days. I think to myself, "Serious. You waited this long. "Can we get it done?" "Yeah, we can do it" If you get back to them first, that helps you be the first, expects more vendor. 15. Bonus Questions: Hard Acronyms, Board-Picked Names: Paula wrote in with the question, what happens when a board gets to pick your name and you don't have much input on it but you still have to market it? That is a little bit tricky. That also brings up the question of if you get stuck with a hard acronym, like [inaudible] , how do you spell it and how do you market it? There are no easy answers to these questions so what I will tell you is this; educating your stake holders is key, making sure that your board knows what's required in order to market effectively a hard acronym. Knowing that your board knows what you need them to know in order to make a good branding choice and knowing the costs of having to switch away from a brand that was maybe a poor decision to begin with. If you are stuck with a hard acronym or you are stuck with a board name picked brand that you know isn't speaking to your customers, you can create a campaign around this. Just like Brian Hanning from that damn lawyer, his actual law firm name is Hanning Law Limited. It's really hard to spell that and making sure that you can say it over the phone and everything else. There is no mistaking that damnlawyer.com. Same thing with a campaign that you could come up with to market your brand and your service or emotionally appeal to your audience. Those things are easy to discern and pick up. You might not get full permission from your board to go to the extreme of that damn lawyer but you can certainly appeal to some emotional aspect of your product or service that you hope that others pick up on and in that way, you can circumvent a bad brand name ,a bad acronym or a harder choice that people might have to try and figure out how to spell.